Friday, July 19, 2024

The US Justice Department reports that it thwarted Russian social media influence campaign

Justice Department Disrupts Russian Operation Using AI to Spread Pro-Kremlin Messages

The U.S. Justice Department has revealed that they have disrupted a Russian operation using fake social media accounts enhanced by artificial intelligence to spread pro-Kremlin messages in the United States and abroad. This news comes just months before the U.S. presidential election, raising concerns about potential hacking and social media influence attempts by foreign adversaries.

The Justice Department obtained court approval to seize two domain names and investigate close to 1,000 social media accounts allegedly associated with this effort. Attorney General Merrick Garland stated, “With these actions, the Justice Department has disrupted a Russian-government backed, AI-enabled propaganda campaign to spread disinformation.”

This marks the first time the U.S. has publicly accused a foreign government of using generative AI in a foreign influence operation. Officials have warned that adversaries could use AI systems to amplify efforts to spread misinformation.

The alleged operation was reportedly organized through a private intelligence organization in Russia, involving Russian intelligence officers and a senior employee of the government-funded news outlet Russia Today. The effort, approved and funded by the Kremlin, utilized a custom AI-powered platform to manage hundreds of fake social accounts posing as real Americans.

The accounts, primarily on social media platform X, have been banned after posting pro-Kremlin content and criticizing the Ukrainian government. The U.S. collaborated with Dutch authorities on the investigation, revealing that the campaign was operated from a server in the Netherlands.

Both the Russian embassy in Washington and RT have not responded to requests for comment on these allegations. This incident serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing battle against foreign influence operations utilizing advanced technologies.

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